Purchasing a home is a major financial decision, and one of the most important things new homeowners need to realize is that there is serious work involved in protecting that investment. Over time, if youâ€™re not actively trying to counteract it, your home could actually decrease in value. Here are a few steps you can take to help maintain, or possibly even increase, the value of your home.
Focus on Your Curb Appeal
Of course the condition of your homeâ€™s interior is important, but remember that what people see first is the outside.
â€śIf an appraiser, REALTORÂ®, or even a buyer drives up to your home and their first impression is a negative one, it holds a lot of weight,â€ť said Doug Petroff of Petroff Appraisals. â€śBy properly maintaining your yard and landscaping, and keeping your exterior clean and updated, it gives people the impression that the home is well maintained and starts things off on a positive note.â€ť
Keep Up On Routine Maintenance
Taking good care of your home is critical in protecting its value. Petroff says keeping up with minor fixes over the years can go a long way in preventing bigger, more expensive, value-damaging problems.
â€śWhen you maintain your home on a regular basis you typically end up putting less into it in the long run,â€ť he said. â€śEvery winter I go through my home room by room and take note of areas that need attention, whether itâ€™s a quick paint touch-up or maybe a few windows that need recaulking. When you stay on top of maintenance it really helps save time, money, and stress.â€ť
Make Necessary Updates
If you purchased an older home, or plan on living in your new home for several years, itâ€™s inevitable that updates will need to be made along the way. Kitchens and bathrooms continue to be an important focus for todayâ€™s buyers, so things like outdated appliances, worn cabinets, and old countertops can definitely impact your homeâ€™s value.
â€śIn the kitchen, I would pay particular attention to appliances and, when you replace them, go with energy saving options,â€ť said Petroff. â€śAnd remember, while kitchens and baths are important, donâ€™t neglect other areas. For instance, I would not advise spending money on a complete kitchen overhaul if your furnace is 20 years old.â€ť
If you decide to take on a more extensive remodeling project, just be critical in how you spend your money. If you really want your investment to pay off, donâ€™t over-improve for the neighborhood. Do some research or enlist the help of a professional REALTORÂ® or appraiser to make sure any projects you take on will truly help maintain or increase your value.
â€śIf youâ€™re going to handle upgrades or improvements yourself, make sure you have the skills and tools to do so,â€ť said Petroff. â€śIn order to protect your value, these projects need to be done properly, so if you arenâ€™t a handy homeowner, consult the professionals.â€ť
Ask For Advice
You donâ€™t need to list your home to get guidance from the real estate pros. If youâ€™re wondering where your current value stands, and possibly looking for ways to improve that value, reach out to your REALTORÂ®, or have an appraisal performed by a local professional. Some homeowners may even call in an inspector who can point out any structural or mechanical problems that could have a negative impact on your value.
For a listing of these experts, visit the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORÂ®â€™s website at www.lansing-realestate.com.
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